I was under the impression that I would meet my husband in college and we would get married after we both graduated. We would find steady jobs that we both enjoyed and then create a family together a few years later. Oh, little Ashley, you were so naive.
Obviously, that is not how things happened. Here I am, a fresh 27 years old, living in a one bedroom apartment in my hometown, while my boyfriend is over 2,600 miles away in freakin’ Canada. Not cool, universe. Not cool.
Our story begins back in early 2008 when I first began blogging. Somehow, he and I ended up reading the same blogs and “running in the same circle”. Occasionally we commented on each other’s blogs (PeterDeWolf.com and That Super Awesome Blog, if you’re interested). Once in a while there would be an email exchange back and forth. But it wasn’t until June 2010 that things began to move forward.
I remember reading his blog and thinking, “Geez, I wish I could find a guy who treated me like this! I totally deserve someone like him!”
Yeah, it might seem narcissistic, but in the relationship department I was completely aware of how awesome I am and wasn’t willing to settle for anything less. I believe that is called self-confidence and knowing your worth.
So, June 2010. We’re emailing, every day, constantly. This is a full-on, mind-consuming, butterfly-inducing crush.
Over the next few months we started talking on the phone and soon graduated to Skype.
Looking back, we probably should have discussed it sooner, but it wasn’t until late 2010 that we began seriously talking about the distance. I guess we wanted to be sure that this was for real and not just some internet romance.
We knew the distance was a huge obstacle (hello, 12-hour day of traveling and goodbye, huge chunk of a pay check), but we were determined.
The first time we saw each other June 2011. It was beautiful, awkward, so much fun, a learning experience, and it felt like home. Within the first two minutes, we knew this was only the “first” visit. Since then we spent five glorious days together in August, have another trip planned for October, and are hoping we will be able to spend New Years together for the first time.
It takes a lot of work, but I don’t always mind that most of our conversations are through video cameras and microphones. It makes us put in the effort as we build our foundation. We are actually talking, learning how to solve misunderstandings, and are continuously getting to know each other.
In case it’s not already blatantly obvious, let me put this out there: I love him. I love his kind heart, how he is always thinking of others, how he is the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met. I love that he is incredibly smart, that his interests include sports, astronomy, writing fiction, and his adorably cute niece. I love that he talks about our future and isn’t afraid to share his feelings. I love that he makes me feel like I’m part of the best team out there.
Naturally, my friends and family have concerns. They worry that we “met online” and that perhaps, “he isn’t really who he says he is”. I hope I put that fear to rest with the first visit, when he was, in fact, himself. They worry that I will decide to move to Canada and in the process will be giving up part of myself for a man.
And this is where it ties into my biggest battle of trusting myself and figuring out what I want MY life to be.
I don’t want to create a riff in my relationship with my family because I am trying to follow my heart. I don’t want to disappoint them, but I also have to remember that I am an intelligent, strong, independent woman and I don’t want to disappoint myself either. I don’t want them to think I am giving anything up because, honestly, I feel like I would be gaining so much more than anything I might lose.
I would be gaining closeness with the man I love. I would be pulling that trust, loyalty, humor, respect, and love so much closer. And to me, that is what life is about.
Sure, the idea of moving to another country freaks me out a little bit (and of course there are visas, and jobs, and living situations, and other crap to figure out), but when the end result is him? It seems totally worth it.